Strawberry Lemon Chia Pudding (blended)

Yay! Another recipe for chia pudding that I know you will love…especially if you don’t prefer the tapioca pudding-texture of traditional chia pudding. This recipe is so easy, even my cat can make it! Just toss all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until the chia seeds are broken down. 

The combination of lemon and strawberry makes for a refreshing summer breakfast or lunch while on the go. I like to mix mine with a scoop or two of full-fat cottage cheese (like Kalona SuperNatural Whole Milk Cottage Cheese) and top with a sprinkle of grain-free granola and unsweetened coconut flakes. 

You may also enjoy my other chia pudding recipes: Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding and Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding!

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Strawberry Lemon Chia Pudding (blended)
Another super easy recipe for chia pudding that I know you will love...especially if you don't prefer the tapioca pudding-texture of traditional chia pudding. The combination of lemon and strawberry makes for a refreshing summer breakfast or lunch while on the go! 4 Earthfoods per serving: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 oz. unsweetened vanilla plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced and stems removed
  • 1 small lemon, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 oz. unsweetened vanilla plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced and stems removed
  • 1 small lemon, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and process until chia seeds are broken down and blended.
  2. Transfer contents to mason jar and secure with lid. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Top with nuts, seeds, or unsweetened coconut flakes.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 210Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Sodium: 25 mg; Potassium: 475 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 31 g; Dietary fiber: 15 g; Net Carbohydrates: 16 grams;Sugar: 15 g (6 grams added sugar from maple syrup); Protein: 7 g

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Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding

I’m just getting started with chia pudding…so you’ll have to forgive my obnoxiousness over the next couple of weeks because it’s going to be nothing short of chia mania!

If you love the combo of peanut butter and banana, you will absolutely adore this variety. 

Each recipe makes two servings, or enough to fill one 12-ounce mason jar. I’ve been treating this like a dessert lately, scooping out a couple of tablespoons when I have a taste for something sweet (which is like every day). 

This really makes an incredible breakfast– totally blows yogurt out of the water. And you can make it dairy-free by using nut milk. The only sweetener I added was a teaspoon of raw honey, but the combination of cinnamon, pure vanilla, and banana sweetens it up plenty, so feel free to omit if you’d like. 

The fact that it packs 13 grams of fiber per serving means it will stay with you and won’t spike blood sugar. 

Like blueberry? Try my Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding recipe!

Print Recipe
Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding
If you love the combo of peanut butter and banana, you will absolutely adore this variety. The only sweetener I added was a teaspoon of raw honey, but the combination of cinnamon, pure vanilla, and banana sweetens it up plenty, so feel free to omit if you'd like. 3 Earthfoods per serving: ❤️❤️❤️
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk I like Elmhurst unsweetened nut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
  • 1/2 medium banana, ripe
  • 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (oily kind works best) only ingredient should be peanuts (salt is ok too!)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cacao nibs (optional) Navitas brand
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk I like Elmhurst unsweetened nut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
  • 1/2 medium banana, ripe
  • 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (oily kind works best) only ingredient should be peanuts (salt is ok too!)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cacao nibs (optional) Navitas brand
Instructions
  1. Combine chia seeds through vanilla in a mason jar and stir until combined.
  2. In a food processor, combine honey through cinnamon and process until combined. You could also mash the banana with a fork and mix the other ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Stir the banana mixture into the chia mixture and mix well. Secure with mason jar lid and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Top with cacao nibs if desired.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 260Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 145 mg; Potassium: 420 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 23 g; Dietary fiber: 13 g; Net Carbohydrates: 10 grams; Sugar: 7 g (5 grams added sugar from honey); Protein: 11 g

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Stop the Chase: A Healthier You is Waiting

June 11th, 2019 | no comments

 

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

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Are you tired of feeling like a hamster on a wheel, chasing after good health with limited success? And just when you think you’ve got it…there it goes, like a feather being carried away by the wind.

When I ask people why they feel it’s so difficult to change their current lifestyle habits to achieve better health, I usually get answers like: “It’s too time consuming” or “I miss my favorite foods.” While both are legitimate, supporting reasons for falling off track, they are not at the core of why we really struggle to sustain healthy change.

Why do we really fail?

No, it’s not due to lack of willpower. Nor is it because we failed to find the perfect diet.

Now here this:

We fail because we continue to make choices as the version of ourselves we are trying to change. The one with aching joints, high cholesterol, and fifty extra pounds to lose. We aren’t living and making choices as if we already are in good health.

We aren’t living with the end in mind.

Understand, you can’t get “there” from “here”. In order for conditions to improve in your body, you must be open to the world of possibilities waiting for you when you have the courage to shift your mindset.  

Are you brave enough?

Are you courageous enough to stop the chase, shed the person you see in the mirror, and step into the shoes of the person you long to become? The one who is indeed waiting for your arrival? 

 

It begins with how you see yourself

This shift in mindset begins with changing how you see yourself. Let me tell you…it matters how you see yourself. It matters so much because:

 

How you treat your body– including what you feed it, whether you give it enough sleep and exercise– is directly related to how you see your body.

 

If you see and believe your body to be fat, unhealthy, diseased, broken, or any version of this, you will subconsciously make choices to keep yourself stuck in that body. You will choose the cheeseburger over the salmon at your favorite restaurant; instead of lacing up your tennis shoes, you will sit your butt on the couch; you will trade sleep for another sitcom episode you’ve seen a million times. Even though you instinctively know better, you will make the self-sabotaging choice because deep down you don’t feel worthy of anything better.

On the other hand, if you see and believe your body to be a healthy temple, a five-star resort, vibrant, strong, or any version of this, you will lather it with healthy habits. Because you sense your worthiness at a deep level, you will make choices to support this vision and keep it alive. 

 

Get out of “what-is” land and go Home

As I said above, you can’t get “there” from “here”. What I mean by that is, when you remain in a fog– in what I call “what-is land”– you are blind to your inherent worthiness. Seeing yourself as diabetic, overweight, or whatever your current ailments are, you can’t recognize the healthier, higher self that is waiting for you. Sustainable change in your eating and exercise habits becomes impossible.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this play out in the lives of people I meet. While I know the reason they fell off track, they are in total darkness as to the true cause, and so they blame it on lack of willpower or some other factor.

Listen, I’m not asking you to fire your doctor and ignore your diagnosis, just stop identifying yourself by it. Take off the blinders, open your beautiful heart and mind, and become a witness to who you really are. When you are Home, in the presence of your light, your higher, healthier self is shining bright, waiting for you. (Click here to understand what it means to be at Home)

Salmon or cheeseburger? Take a walk or plop your ass on the couch? When you are Home, there’s no decision to be made…you just know.  

Want to put an end to the chase after good health? Well, then stop running and embody that which is waiting for you…and live from that end.

Don’t you see? It already exists within you, you just have to step into it.

 

End in Mind visualization exercise

Today, right this very moment, you are the sum total of all of your past thoughts and beliefs. If you aren’t happy with the results, step out of the fog, shift your beliefs, and start feeding yourself more affirmative thoughts. 

Spend a few minutes every morning practicing this visualization exercise:

Visualize yourself in a healthy, vibrant body. The one you’ve been chasing after and longing for. What does this body look and feel like? See it in great detail, as clear as your favorite piece of art. What clothes are you wearing? Where are you? What foods are you enjoying? Imagine yourself with lab results in hand…what do they say? How do you feel in this body? See yourself ordering a meal at your favorite restaurant– what do you choose? Believe you are deserving of it and that it is in fact waiting for you.

Once you can see it very clearly, it’s time to embody that person and begin making the choices they would make. For example, even though you may love them, a healthy and vibrant individual would not eat doughnuts for breakfast. It’s not that they forbid themselves, it would just be totally out of alignment with who they really are. It simply wouldn’t make sense.

Understand, this isn’t a matter of exercising willpower, but rather an almost unconscious practice of living with the desired end in mind.

Really, it’s about stepping into that which is waiting for you.

 

This is SO IMPORTANT…

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of living as the end product of your desire and making choices from this place, as this person. Really feel yourself into it. Feel the energy as it courses through your veins. Take a good look in the mirror, believe and feel that you are this person.

The truth is, if your vision is strong and persistent enough, something you can’t get out of your mind, it is an indication that it’s already in you, waiting to be born.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Elmhurst Nut Milk

It’s not easy to find non-dairy milk without emulsifiers, thickeners, and added sugar. That’s why many people are making their own nut milk! Personally, I haven’t gone as far as to “milk” my almonds…yet. If you are interested in making your own nut milk using whole nuts, check out this recipe.

Still, it can be super convenient to just pick up a carton of non-dairy milk, so if you choose to go this route, I would recommend to first avoid carrageenan, then aim for unsweetened milk. For this you’ll have to look at the ingredient label because even the milks labeled “Original” still have added sugar. Choose milk specifically labeled “unsweetened”.

Elmhurst—specifically their unsweetened varieties– is the best brand I’ve found so far. Although a bit pricey, they’ve managed to create a non-dairy milk with only two ingredients: filtered water and almonds. So in my opinion, it’s worth it. Elmhurst also makes unsweetened cashew, hazelnut, and walnut milk varieties too!

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding

 

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7 Good Mood Foods for Your Lunch Box

June 5th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

Plus: Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Got an everlasting case of the “Mondays”? What you eat throughout your day can really make a difference in your mood. This is why it’s so important to pack what I call a healthy food environment, otherwise you’ll be tempted to reach for cookies, chips or any other highly processed foods that may be hanging out in the office junk food dispenser (aka: vending machine) or lunch room.

The key is to pack your lunch box with not only lunch, but also one or two Earthfood-rich snacks in case you get hungry before quitting time. 

See if you can pack some of these good mood foods in tomorrow’s lunch:

 

Fermented Vegetables

Fermented veggies are rich in healthy bacteria (probiotics)—which studies suggest may help reduce negative thoughts and improve our state of mind. They include: cabbage (sauerkraut), kimchi (a spicy Korean dish made of cabbage, radish, garlic and spices), beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, radishes, garlic, and broccoli. 

Ideas: Mix one or two tablespoons in tuna, egg or garden salads. Try my easy recipe for Lentil Quinoa Kimchi Salad!

Brands: Farmhouse Cultures, Cleveland Kraut, Wake Robin

 

Canned salmon and tuna

Salmon and tuna are both good mood foods with serious bragging rights. They are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote a healthier brain and mental state.

Ideas: Mix with mashed avocado and serve with raw veggies or serve on top of a leafy green salad. Try my Cranberry Apple Tuna Salad Jar!

Brands that test for mercury and PCBs and take measures to control for these contaminants: Wild Planet; Safe Catch; Henry & Lisa’s 

 

Blueberries

Blueberries are high in antioxidants called flavonoids, which help activate brain pathways associated with improved mood and cognition.

Ideas: Add blueberries to lunch salads (like my Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad with Pecan “Cheese”), pop a handful as a snack, or try this week’s recipe pick for Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding! It makes for an amazing dairy-free yogurt alternative (with much less sugar too).

 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are an impressive source of fiber– 5 grams per tablespoon– and can help prevent constipation and promote regularity. What makes it a good mood food? Have you ever gone a day without pooping? I rest my case. Sometimes I secretly wonder, if all the grumpy Gus’s and crabby Patty’s out there just had a really good bowel movement every morning, would they still be so darn cranky? I think not.  Chia seeds for everyone!

Ideas: Add a tablespoon to shakes, mix into salad dressing, beat afternoon cravings with my Craving-Crusher Water, add to chili (try my recipe for Earthy Turkey Chia Chili), or enjoy it as Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

Brands: Bob’s Red Mill; Nutiva; Navitas; Garden of Life

 

Eggs (especially the yolk!)

Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of choline, a vitamin associated with better neurological function and production of ‘happiness’ hormones!

Ideas: Eat a hard-boiled egg as an afternoon snack, slice into salads, or try my recipe for Egg & Hummus-Stuffed Avocado.

Brands: Organic Valley Free-Range; Pete & Gerry’s Free-Range Organic

 

Lentils

Lentils help keep blood sugar levels stable, which is super important for a balanced mood. This is precisely why you never want to run across me in a dark alley when I have low blood sugar and am ravenously hungry…let’s just say it ain’t pretty! 😈 Lentils are also loaded with folate, a B-vitamin which helps prevent mood disorders.

Ideas: Add ¼ cup lentils to lunch salads and soups or drizzle with olive oil and make it a side dish. Try my Creamy Red Lentil Hummus!

Brand: Bob’s Red Mill Lentils

 

Dark Chocolate

Yes, dark chocolate is a good mood food! It enhances focus and concentration and stimulates production of endorphins—feel-good chemicals that give you a mental lift.

Ideas: Add one tablespoon of cacao powder to your lunch smoothie (try my Gut-Loving Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake!) or for an afternoon pick-me-up, snack on one-ounce of dark chocolate (≥70% cacao) or a square of Chill-the-Hell-Out Fudge (PS: give a square to an angry co-worker and watch what happens!😆)

Brands: Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder; Endangered Species chocolate (70%+)

 

Please don’t be mistaken…

You can’t just add good mood foods to an otherwise crappy diet and expect to be skipping around like Mary Poppins. As you move through your journey to better health and gradually improve the quality of your food choices, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is to include these foods in your repertoire of meals. 

I can hear you singing now…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 🎼  (tell me you’re not in a better mood after watching this ↓↓↓).

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

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Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding

A fantastic breakfast full of mood and brain-boosting omega-3 fats to start your day!

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of yogurt. It’s one of those foods people believe is a healthy choice, meanwhile many varieties contain as much sugar as a Hershey’s bar (seriously). 

Chia pudding is a beautiful alternative to your morning yogurt parfait because YOU control what goes in it…not to mention that a serving packs an enormous amount of fiber (hello 11 grams!). 

More varieties are coming, but in this recipe I decided to keep it simple: just chia seeds, unsweetened nut milk, blueberries, pure vanilla, and a touch of honey. You could even leave the honey out if you’d like. 

Print Recipe
Blueberry Vanilla Chia Pudding
A fantastic breakfast full of mood and brain-boosting omega-3 fats to start your day! 2 Earthfoods per serving: ❤️❤️
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla plant-based milk almond, coconut, cashew, flax, hemp
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries, mashed
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla plant-based milk almond, coconut, cashew, flax, hemp
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries, mashed
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Combine chia seeds through fresh blueberries in a mason jar and stir until combined.
  2. Add frozen blueberries and a couple tablespoons of water to a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth (should look like a thin fruit puree). Stir into chia pudding, secure with mason jar lid and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 170Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Sodium: 80 mg; Potassium: 150 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 21 g; Dietary fiber: 11 g; Net Carbohydrates: 10 grams; Sugar: 9 g (5 grams added sugar from honey); Protein: 6 g

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Scarcity Thinking = Food Preoccupation (and overeating)

May 29th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Enrico Mantegazza on Unsplash

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This should come as no surprise to you, but I take pride in going against the grain of the diet industry. I don’t fight it; I do the exact opposite… and it has worked beautifully in my life and in the lives of those I’ve had the pleasure of coaching over the years.

You may not realize it, but the diet industry promotes a scarcity mindset. Of course they don’t market it as such, but that’s exactly what it is.

How many times have you followed a diet or meal plan with these “scarcity language” guidelines?

“Don’t eat ___________”

“Eat only ___________”

“Limit yourself to ______________”

 

There’s something you should know about scarcity: as humans, we are born to fear it.

 

Scarcity thinking brings out your rebel nature

Tell me you don’t feel a little anxious when you imagine yourself: “having not enough money”, “running out of time”, or “having not enough food”. Read that last sentence again and really put yourself in the middle of each scenario.

Do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach? I know I do!

When a diet tells us we can only have so many calories, ounces, or servings (scarcity, scarcity, scarcity), it’s in our DNA to become totally preoccupied with food. It’s all we think about! Eventually we break down and eat more…even if we aren’t physically hungry.

Don’t you see? A scarcity mindset automatically places food on a pedestal and assigns it power. Resistance then builds and into self-sabotaging rebel-mode you go.

There’s another way.

 

Abundance thinking = total freedom

Rather than an “eat this not that” or “you can only have this much” approach, I promote an abundance mindset solution, whereby the decision of what and how much to eat is made through this lens:

You can have anything you want, in any amount you want, as long as you are making the decision from Home and checking in while you eat to assure you haven’t drifted into a fog. And if you have, all that’s required is a conscious breath and you’re back.

I call this Home-based eating

 

I’m confused Melanie! What do you mean by “Home”?

Within you rests a gentle, quiet space. It’s where the deeper part of you resides, and when you connect with it, you feel at Home (capitalization intentional and to be interpreted in whatever way resonates with you).

Home is a place of peace and trust, and also the source of your greatest power. When you pay a visit, you feel good…and possible. You make better food choices with greater ease and treat yourself with gentle love and kindness. There is a sense of clarity and abundance—a subtle knowing that you are whole, and all is well.

Although you may only visit for a moment here and there, rest assured, Home is always open and waiting for you to enter any time you choose. I am here to tell you that when you make decisions from this place, you will never feel the need to find another diet to rescue you.

To read more about how to practice Home-based eating, check out THIS POST.

 

Can you really trust yourself?

Without the structure of calories and rigid rules, can you really trust yourself? After all, when face-to-face with a double pepperoni pizza it would be so easy to convince yourself that you are practicing Home-based eating.

Let your cravings be your guide.

When you combine Home-based eating with the practice of relentless consistency, over time your cravings will shift towards those foods your body truly desires—called Earthfoodsand pizza will become a food you enjoy on occasion. This shift is something that comes naturally and with zero resistance.

Craving Earthfoods is a sign that your human and being sides have merged…and when that happens, you my friend have struck gold.

 

Total freedom NOW

Exchange that scarcity mentality for an abundance mindset and you will experience a sense of freedom…like when you were a small child. Remember those days?

When you combine abundance-thinking with Home-based eating, and come from a place of presence, your cravings will shift towards those foods that are worthy of going into your body. 

This is food freedom; and it’s available to you NOW. 

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils

Lentils are ancient (I’m talking 7,000BC!) edible legumes known for their lens-shape. They are an attractive option for quick and healthy meals because unlike beans, lentils require no soaking and are ready in 15-20 minutes.

An excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron, lentils function beautifully as a meat replacement in vegetarian recipes. 

You can find them in brown, green (French lentils), yellow, black, and red varieties, however the texture is not the same across the board. When cooked, brown, green and black lentils are firm, while red and yellow are more mushy and work well in blended recipes like soups, chili, veggie burgers, dips, and spreads (check out this week’s recipe pick below for Creamy Red Lentil Hummus).

I like to boil up an entire bag of Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils and make multiple recipes. For example, this week I doubled the batch of Creamy Red Lentil Hummus and had plenty left over to bake up two loaves of Spicy Vegetarian “Meat” Loaf. 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Creamy Red Lentil Hummus

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Creamy Red Lentil Hummus

I thought I loved chickpea hummus…until I tried red lentil hummus. This is a super creamy spread that can be used as a:

When cooked, red lentils tend to be more mushy than brown lentils. Their texture makes them suitable for dips, soups, and vegetarian “meat” loaf (check out this recipe for Spicy Vegetarian “Meat” Loaf).

I boiled up an entire bag of Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils and doubled the batch of hummus. I even had plenty left over to bake up two loaves of Spicy Vegetarian “Meat” Loaf. Score! 

Print Recipe
Creamy Red Lentil Hummus
Move over chickpea hummus! This is a super creamy spread that can be used as a dip for your favorite raw veggies, mayonnaise replacement in your egg salad, or filling for avocados. 1 Earthfood per serving:❤️
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings (serving size: 1/4 cup)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils, dry I like Bob's Red Mill brand
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 15.5-ounce can white beans (cannellini or great northern), rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice About one lemon or you can use Lakewood PURE Lemon Juice.
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings (serving size: 1/4 cup)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils, dry I like Bob's Red Mill brand
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 15.5-ounce can white beans (cannellini or great northern), rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice About one lemon or you can use Lakewood PURE Lemon Juice.
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Rinse lentils and place in a pot with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until tender- about 15 minutes. Drain if any remaining water is left in the pot.
  2. Add lentils and remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 110Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 0.5 g; Sodium: 300 mg; Potassium: 75 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Net Carbohydrates: 8 grams; Sugar: 0 g;Protein: 5 g

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Yes, Diabetics CAN Eat Pasta!

May 22nd, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Krista Stucchio on Unsplash

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Pasta can often spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for those of us trying to manage our blood sugar. But not anymore! When done right, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of pasta without your blood sugar hitting the roof. 

But… (there’s always a but isn’t there?)

You must have an open mind and be willing to try new things.

 

Let me get real with you about your blood sugar

Listen, if you want to eat like you’ve always eaten, take a look at your most recent lab results…because that’s exactly what you’ll continue to get. I’m sorry if this sounds a little brash, but I’m really saying it out of love.

I want you to be well my friend; nothing would make me happier. 

And guess what? You have another ally—your body. It wants so badly to be well that it absolutely will adapt favorably to change when given the opportunity.  

Broaden your horizons and challenge your taste buds a bit! Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to drink a kale smoothie (yet 😉).

 

Pasta and marinara sauce recommendations

Let’s start by swapping your traditional wheat-based pasta for…hold on to your undies…chickpea pasta. 

Are you still breathing?

Banza is a low-glycemic (gentle on the blood sugar) pasta ideal for diabetics. It’s made from chickpeas and pea protein, so not only are you gaining plant-based protein, but also four times the fiber and 40% less net carbs. That’s a double hell yeah for your blood sugar.

There are no special cooking instructions; just boil for 8 minutes and it’s done! And it doesn’t fall apart or turn to mush like some of those other alternative pastas out there. 

Banza pasta is gluten-free, non-GMO, and comes in the following varieties: penne, elbows, shells, rotini, spaghetti, wheels, rigatoni, cavatappi, and ziti. Check them out HERE!

Now for the sauce.

If you aren’t up for making homemade pasta sauce, you’ll want to choose a jarred sauce with no added sugar or sweetener in the ingredients. It’s simply unnecessary! FYI…the majority of commercial sauces contain added sugar, so check the list of ingredients. 

Newman’s Own Organic Marinara Sauce tastes great and keeps a simple ingredient list: Organic Tomato Puree (Water, Organic Tomato Paste, Citric Acid), Organic Diced Tomatoes, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Carrot Puree, Organic Basil, Sea Salt, Organic Garlic, Organic Onion*, Organic Black Pepper*, Organic Fennel. 

Another sauce worth mentioning is Mia’s Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce. It’s made with California tomatoes, tomato puree, kale, fresh onions, roasted red peppers, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, spices. Although the ingredient list on their website shows “cane sugar”, the actual sauce contains no added sugar. The company assured me they are in the process of updating the label.  

If you haven’t clicked off of this post by now, it means you have a fairly open mind. So of course I’m going to push my luck (it’s only because I love you!). Keep reading…

 

Instead of meat, try crumbled tempeh (a high-fiber plant-based protein)

Still with me? 

Tempeh is a probiotic-rich fermented soy product with a dense texture, making it a suitable replacement for meat.

The state of your microbiome (the collection of 100+ trillion organisms living within your intestines, mouth and nose) impacts virtually everything about you, including your: body weight, digestion, mood, immune system, and yes…blood sugar.

Because tempeh is full of healthy bacteria, it can help support a healthy, viable, and thriving microbiome. You’ll learn how to make crumbled tempeh in this week’s recipe pick for Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta!

If you draw the line at trying a meat alternative, I am still as happy as a pig in mud that you are willing to try chickpea pasta!

Because of your willingness (and because I know you can do this last one), I’m going to push you just a little further….

 

Finally…add a leafy green salad

As you learned in this previous post, greens offer more nutrients per pound than virtually any other Earthfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, greens improve the health of your microbiome and also aid in blood sugar management.

Enjoy these benefits and more by serving a leafy green salad alongside your pasta! In fact, I recommend getting at least a serving or two (or three) of greens in your diet every day. Add them to shakes, sauté and fold in omelets and stir into marinara sauce, or make them the base of a main course salad!

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

Greens include:

Arugula, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli rabe (rapini), cabbage, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kale, mesclun, microgreens, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and wild greens.

See what happens when you open your mind just a bit? Now get your fanny to the grocery store and make it happen! Trust me, your body will ❤️ you for this! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)

Pasta can often spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for those of us trying to manage our blood sugar. But not anymore! When done right, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of pasta without your blood sugar hitting the roof. 

This recipe uses gluten-free chickpea pasta in place of regular wheat-based pasta, and a jarred marinara sauce with no added sugar. 

In place of meat, I used crumbled tempeh, a probiotic-rich fermented soy product that can support healthy blood sugar. 

Print Recipe
Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)
This recipe uses gluten-free chickpea pasta in place of regular wheat-based pasta, and a jarred marinara sauce with no added sugar. In place of meat, I used crumbled tempeh, a probiotic-rich fermented soy product that can support healthy blood sugar.2 Earthfoods per serving ❤️❤️
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 8-ounce package organic tempeh I like Lightlife Organic Tempeh
  • 12 ounces water
  • 2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic power
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 box Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 24-ounce jar no added sugar pasta sauce I like Newman's Own Organic Marinara Sauce or Mia's Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce
  • fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 8-ounce package organic tempeh I like Lightlife Organic Tempeh
  • 12 ounces water
  • 2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic power
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 box Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 24-ounce jar no added sugar pasta sauce I like Newman's Own Organic Marinara Sauce or Mia's Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce
  • fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Instructions
  1. Crumble the tempeh and add to a large pan. Add water through thyme and stir well.
  2. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until tempeh has absorbed all the water. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
  3. When tempeh has absorbed all of the liquid, mix in oil and continue to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add jar of sauce to the pan and cook until heated through.
  4. Serve sauce over cooked pasta and top with basil ribbons. For an extra Earthfood serving or two, add a nice leafy green salad on the side!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 285Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 530 mg; Potassium: 485 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 35 g; Dietary fiber: 11 g; Net Carbohydrates: 24 grams; Sugar: 7 g (0 grams added sugar); Protein: 18 g

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The Four Types of Hunger

May 15th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly food pick: Ayala’s Herbal Water
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Fruit-Infused Water
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Merriam Webster defines hunger as: An uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach. (Whew…talk about a mouthful!) 

This definition refers to physical hunger. We all know what it feels like—an unmistakable, uncomfortable sensation triggering you to go on the hunt for food. Thank goodness your body is equipped to sense physical hunger, otherwise you’d run the risk of starvation and entire organs and body systems would shut down! 

It’s very important for you to understand all of the ways that hunger can present itself. Some of these are quite sly, causing you to reach for a snack even though you aren’t physically hungry. But don’t worry, you’re about to learn how to recognize these little tricksters and put them in their place!

 

Pleasant hunger

This is a safe and trustworthy hunger. It’s the type that causes a baby to fuss just a little bit to let you know she is hungry. If you miss her subtle pleasant hunger cues, she’ll be sure to remind you with a piercing cry.  

How does it feel?

Pleasant hunger feels like: “I could eat, but the hunger is not controlling or bringing me down.”

To be pleasantly hungry means you have an appetite for nutritious food. It results from eating healthy and well-balanced meals throughout the day while minimizing unnecessary snacking. Meals that contain the proper balance of Earthfoods and healthy proteins and fats will keep you satisfied for around four to five hours, at which point you will begin to feel pleasantly hungry. Click HERE for ideas to help you get started.

Opt for the following meats and seafood when possible:

  • Hormone and antibiotic-free meats (organic when possible), such as free-range chicken and turkey, and grass-fed beef
  • Free-range eggs (organic when possible)
  • Omega 3-rich fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna

Some of the best plant-based protein options:

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas
  • Hummus made with tahini or olive oil (versus inflammatory oils such as canola or soybean)
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Tempeh: fermented soybeans formed into “cakes”
  • Natto: fermented soybeans
  • Plant-based protein powders, such as hemp powder and pea protein powder

Healthy fats include:

  • For salads, stews and low-temperature cooking: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil (also good for higher-heat cooking), macadamia oil, walnut oil, almond oil
  • Avocado
  • Grass-fed butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Ghee, or clarified butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Unrefined coconut oil (good for medium-heat cooking)
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Olives
  • Omega 3-rich fatty fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • MCT oil

Be careful of processed foods like chips, frozen meals, deli meats, and artificially sweetened beverages (to name only a few), as they can disturb your hunger and fullness signals, causing you to eat more than you bargained for!

 

Urgent hunger

Urgent hunger is what causes happy Mel to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West!

Caused by insufficient calories in the bloodstream, while in the midst of it, you will eat just about anything in site with no regard for its nutritional content. Your body sends a signal to your brain saying “NEED FOOD NOW!”

When in a state of urgent hunger, I’m definitely not chopping vegetables for a nice garden salad. Instead, I’m ripping open the nearest bag of corn chips like a starving raccoon. Remember, it’s a food-emergency and your body needs food fast—preferably something that will raise your blood sugar quickly back to normal. We never make healthy choices in this state, so avoid it at all costs.

How does it feel?

This is what I call desperate hunger. Your stomach is growling loudly and you feel faint and unstable. When in this state, if someone dares to even say hello, you’re liable to bite their head off! 

How to avoid it

The best way to avoid urgent hunger is to never allow yourself to get there in the first place! Eat a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner (see above) and if more than five hours pass between meals, plug in a small snack like a handful of raw walnuts, raw veggies with hummus, or half of an apple with almond butter. 

 

Thirst hunger

Did you know that thirst can be mistaken for hunger in your body? All too often, we find ourselves reaching for a snack, when what we really need is a glass of water. How can you tell the difference? Drink a glass of water, and if the hunger pangs go away, then you know it was thirst.

How to avoid it

To avoid this false hunger, be sure to drink at least 48 ounces of water throughout the day—or enough to produce urine that is pale yellow in color and almost clear. 

Water recommendations are based on several factors:

  • Physical activity
  • Body weight
  • How hot it is outside
  • Illness/fever
  • Thirst

Keep in mind that once you begin feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So don’t wait until you get to that point.

Don’t like the taste of plain H20?

Make your own fruit-infused water (see this week’s recipe pick!) or look for these naturally infused waters: Hint Water, Ayala Herbal Water, or La Croix Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water!

 

Head-hunger

If you use food to cope with life or find yourself eating when you aren’t physically hungry, you are most certainly feeding your head-hunger. Maybe you eat when you’re bored, stressed, sad, angry, depressed or happy—whatever the reason, this is a sure sign of disconnect.

When was the last time you witnessed a baby cry because he needed a diaper change and Mom came running with a bottle? She tries to feed him, but he keeps crying. If he could talk, he’d probably say: “Hey, dummy, check the diaper! I’m wet and uncomfortable…not hungry!” He’s upset but doesn’t turn to food to ease his emotions because he knows it won’t work!

Feeding your head-hunger is one of the driving forces preventing you from achieving your health goals.

To conquer head-hunger eating, answer these questions:

  1. I am about to eat because I am ______________.
    (i.e. Stressed!)
  2. Why do I feel this way?
    (i.e. I’m overwhelmed with end of the month projects at work!)
  3. How else can I cope with this feeling?
    (i.e. Practice deep breathing exercises)

For best results, put your #3 plan into place immediately.

 

Final words of wisdom

It only takes a little bit of awareness to be successful at this…so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.

Remember, it’s always speaking…

Are you listening?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Ayala’s Herbal Water

 

Ayala’s Herbal Water is the first nationally available organically certified enhanced flavored water made with all organic ingredients.

With flavors like lavender mint (my favorite), cinnamon orange peel, lemongrass mint vanilla, ginger lemon peel, and cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, Ayala’s Herbal Water sets a new standard for healthy beverages: zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors, and zero chemical preservatives. 

If you like a little fizz, Ayala’s offers these flavors in sparkling water too! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Fruit-Infused Water

 

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